Tag Archives: critique group

Back to work tomorrow

Okay, so I admit to being responsible for my own attitude. Last week was shitty, and I can either walk in with a bad attitude, or find a way to get over it. It won't be easy, but I hope I'm capable of getting on with things.

I finished all my promotional posts, but they need a little time to ferment before I send them out. They're all pretty minimal right now and maybe a little more will occur to me. I also finished up this week's Lisa Burton Radio and got it scheduled.

Then a friend suggested a guest post, and I roughed something out but it's still in the works. I also managed reading a half dozen chapters of a new book.

Beyond that, I did my errands and spent a few hours running around town. I'm calling it a good day, even though there was no new fiction involved.

Ennis Fine Furniture is having a warehouse auction that I'd really like to attend. It's on a week night after work, and doesn't fit into either of our schedules. This is mostly about commuting, but we're going to have to give it a pass. My wife has never been to an auction, and it might be interesting. (Twenty miles home, twenty miles back, twenty miles home again. Her alarm goes off at 2:30, mine at 4:00, and we just started Daylight Savings Time… no.)

Thursday is critique group, but there are only two of us now. That won't take very long, and it's near the office.

I have company coming next weekend, so I'm in good shape to slack off a little. It's probably good to step back from Yak Guy, even though I can see the finish line. When I can pick it up, I'll be in a good place to work on it.

Hope you guys had a good Monday.

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The Weekend… ends

Back to the paycheck job for me tomorrow. I had high hopes for some writing, but it never happened. At least not to the degree I had planned.

I spent most of the weekend working on social media stuff and expanding my footprint out in cyberspace. After a lot of fussing and fiddling, I now have sites on Google+ and Pinterest. I have no idea exactly what I'm going to do with them, but I have my reasons.

Google is the biggest search engine on the planet, and I've been told that a presence there helps increase your chances of getting found on a search. So I signed up, and figured out how to push these blog posts onto G+. If any of you are interested this might be my profile https://plus.google.com/117501282560056017429

Pinterest is one I had to be talked into. Nothing is a silver bullet in the world of discovery, but many of us are quite visual. I've written entire stories because I saw a piece of artwork, and this one seems like a good fit for me. If it doesn't expand my footprint, I'll still use it for inspiration. I still don't know how either of these work completely. And like with G+, I'm not completely sure if this is my profile https://www.pinterest.com/entertainin0737/

Part of the issue is my dependence on an iPad. These two seem to want to work best on an app. In fact Pinterest wants to drive me to the app, even when I want the browser version. I kind of slapped it around and tried to force it to give me the link I needed. If anyone is interested, I'm Craig Boyack on Google+. I wanted to be Entertaining Stories or even C. S. Boyack, but Google wants it to match my gmail address exactly. I wound up using a business site on Pinterest, and got to be Entertaining Stories over there.

I'm content with Entertaining Stories, because of branding. I also spent a considerable amount of time hunting for that image that eludes me. I saw it on Facebook around Halloween, and never grabbed it. It's going to be the basis of a shorter story after I finish up some projects. (Even if I never find it.)

So, I'm open to some comments and even critiques on these sites. I've been told a pin board for coming books can create a lot of interest. I'm too late in the game to start for my current projects, but will probably try it for the next wave. I created a small Lisa Burton board, and added some select images with links. Do you think I should do a cover gallery and link those too?

Obviously, I need some friends on these sites. Social media takes a ton of time, and I'll dedicate what I have to the forms that seem to be working or more interactive.

I also assembled and scheduled the next two Lisa Burton Radio spots, built and posted the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author post, and spent a considerable amount of time at Story Empire.

Just to make sure I wasn't slacking, I printed, read, and marked up critique submissions. We meet Thursday night again, and I'm ready.

Yak Guy got left to his own devices. Today, just to keep my hand in, I wrote another “anthem” piece for The Enhanced League. Regulars will remember one I shared, and they're in second person point of view. I really want to call this one Superman, but titled it Super Man in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit. Do you think this might be safe? It's about a guy trying to steal a base in a baseball game and flying through the air like… well you get it. It's 850 words and I'm counting them. Not much for three days.

We have one of those phony gas log fireplaces. I couldn't care less about it, but my wife scheduled it for service today – because I'm home. (Wasn't that sweet of her.) A big part of my writing time went to keeping Otto out of the guy's toolbox. That meant I didn't have enough time for much more than an anthem piece, but I'm counting it as progress anyway.

So there was my weekend; Otto, snow, fondue, more snow, Lisa Burton Radio, snow, Story Empire, snow, Superman, below zero temperatures, service man, snow, Pinterest, snow, and Google+.

How about it peeps? Do you use these other social media? How do you use them? Do you have any tips or tricks for us in the comments? Am I going to get sued by DC Comics? I know you can't copyright a title, but the title is Action Comics that Superman appears in.

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Trying to get things done

Today was a reasonable day to get things done, I just didn't get as much accomplished as I'd like. I always start off with social media, and I may have lingered there a little too long.

I wound up with about 2000 new words on The Yak Guy Project. I know it isn't all that much, and if I would just force myself I would get more accomplished. Still, I moved it past the 50,000 word mark. This part is kind of fun, because Yak Guy, who goes by Ted is showing some real growth. He's focused on things beyond himself, and taking some genuine risks in the process. Let's face it, at the 50K mark he should have grown a bit by now.

I can tell that I've moved out of the middle muck that I mention on occasion. Getting between the index cards is going to be a lot easier from this point on. As far as the Fool's Journey, I'm about to have him face the strength card. I'm not going to hit it very hard, but he's going to face an obstacle that's always been there in the background. He'll do some things that reflect some of the imagery in the card. I think this one should be more of a demonstration than deep reflection for Ted.

After that, I'm going to have to make some deviations. The whole tarot thing is fun, but for the sake of story, I need to shuffle the deck a little. I need to move the Hanged Man forward, and possibly the Wheel of Fortune. Then there is Justice. I have a character who fits the imagery perfectly, but I don't know if her lesson is required for the sake of the story. Looks like I need to do a bit of research before charging past the Strength card. If I include Justice at all, it needs to weave into the story the right way.

What do you think? Am I deviating from my personal challenge, or making it work? In other words, am I cheating?

I also finished one of my baseball short stories. It ended sooner than what I had planned, but there is a sportscast next that explains some of what happened. I'm going to draw some connections to how spin gets put on a story by the media, lawyers, social media, etc. The sportscast will also have some reflections about human nature as far as competitiveness goes.

In other news, my mother bought Otto a reindeer costume when she was here. It's kind of absurd, and every dog I've ever owned would have chewed this thing to ribbons in short order. Otto likes the damned thing, and whines to have us put it on him. He's a special soul, and nothing like any dog I've ever owned. I've had a lot of bully breeds, but never a 100% pure bulldog before. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy a picture of reindeer Otto.

The hood doesn't stay up very long, but it really makes him happy.

Sounds like we are having date night tonight, because Old What's her Face has some commitments tomorrow. We have a ton of errands to run during the day too. Hmm, could be some writing opportunity in there tomorrow night. Sometime this weekend, I have to work up critique submissions for my group. We meet on Tuesday night after work. Maybe I should do that tomorrow night.

This might be the last chance to remind you all to vote. This blog, Entertaining Stories, was nominated as blog of the year by the Rave Reviews Book Club. My novel, The Playground, was nominated as book of the year. Voting is open to the general public, and I'm up against some tough competition in both categories. Here is the link if you're so inclined. Vote Here!

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Trying to get back in the swing of things

It's been a long stretch of promotions for me. It officially started with the release of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II, but it really started long before that. There was a bunch of prep work to make sure the small tour I took it on went well. I custom wrote every piece, I had to think ahead to have the Lisa Burton posters ready on time, etc.

I followed it up with an extended tour for Will O' the Wisp with my Story Empire friends. Our scavenger hunts are about to end, so if you haven't gotten in on the contest you'd better get with it. At stake are ten Amazon Gift cards, and five ebooks. I believe we're drawing the names on Monday. Here's the link just in case: Link.

I also did a bunch of stuff on my own, including playing with all Amazon's toys. Where I'm going with this is… I don't know what to do with myself now.

I read a bunch of The Yak Guy Project to get back in the groove with it. I still have more to read. Then I'll get writing again.

I finished reading an Advanced Reading Copy of a friend's new novel, and I'm so impressed with it. Hopefully we can get her over here to talk about it in some format once her release date gets closer.

I did manage to edit a few short stories. I wrote another anthem piece about baseball, and started another short story. It's about 1300 words total, nothing to brag about. I also wrote a Lisa Burton post that will show up on Thanksgiving Day.

Speaking of Lisa, I assembled and scheduled two of her radio shows today. I have two more to do, but I'm getting into December now, so there's time. If you have a Christmas themed story you'd like to promote, now would be a good time to think about a character interview with Lisa. She's constantly looking for new guests.

I managed to print out the submissions for critique group, but haven't read them yet. I suppose that will be tomorrow's project since we meet on Monday night. Note: Poses a problem with getting my scavenger hunt drawings finished.

I haven't managed to deal with any of my Autumn chores yet either. It's like two different Craigs are fighting with each other. One who wants to get back to writing, and another who needs to coil up hoses and trim trees and roses. I have a theory that if I addressed the chores, the writing would come easier.

I have a decent idea for my next Story Empire post too, and should probably get started on it. I have roughly a month to get it done, but writing it out will make room in my head.

I don't know why I'm struggling with all this. I can't let go of promotion like I should, but ordering my Lisa Burton mugs helped a bit. I have a novel to write, and some short stories to play with. There is no deadline for any of it, so I don't know what the big deal is.

Time has always been an issue around here. When I'm not working, I need peace and quiet to write. This is harder with Otto around, because he needs (and deserves) attention. Writing time and reading time are the exact-same time, so I can do one or the other. I know I'll have to cut back reading before I can get super productive again. I need to dedicate some of the not-so-quiet time to my chores. Once those are off my plate things might look better. Maybe after my critiques are finished I can tackle part of them tomorrow.

I'm going to have a houseful over Thanksgiving, so I doubt that will be very productive. I also have the next weekend dedicated to company. Maybe they will all go black friday shopping and I can get something done then.

It seems like a long time away, but I took the whole week off between Christmas and New Years. If I can get myself organized I could really make the words fly then. The challenge is to get my other stuff sorted out and get everything lined up in advance.

This is about the time when I make a task list. It's a system that works for me, and I need to do it again.

Things don't always go perfect for everyone else either. Just to prove the point, I'll share this with you. My wife decided to wash the windows inside and out. She just finished the outside, and moved to the inside of our dining room. Apparently, Otto decided window washing was really interesting.

There are tongue and nose smears all over the outside of her window now.

I feel like I'm floundering around right now, and I need to get over it. I'm usually more productive than this. I hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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Getting things done.

This is one of those days where I had a lot of little things to get finished. Any one of them doesn't seem like much, but they add up. I tore into them with gusto, but my gusto is about exhausted.

Here is a list of the items I tackled:

  • Picked a section and sent off my critique submission to that group.
  • Made some artwork for a group promo I have going on.
  • Made a final proof for a Lisa Burton Radio post and sent it out.
  • Sent out a questionnaire for Lisa Burton Radio.
  • Sent out a micro-fiction for an anthology. (I promised to try writing a short story too. By September 7th.)
  • Wrote posts for the Second Notebook blog tour. (Seven down, five to go.)
  • Prepared a post for an October event I was invited to. This host wanted it copy and paste ready, so there was a learning curve. I haven't heard back as to whether I did it right or get to try again.
  • Got a new piece of Lisa Burton art. Catalogued it and stored it for future use. It has nothing to do with the second Experimental Notebook.
  • Assembled and scheduled this week's Lisa Burton Radio.

Like I said, they're small things. Somehow, in bulk, they managed to eat up about seven hours.

This is what I do when I get a day off. I probably missed some things, and neglected a few I should have done. When the list gets big, I hit it hard and clean up the mess later. Many of these things have deadlines, and cannot wait. Tomorrow the paycheck job beckons.

I could do more. There are still five more blog tour posts to write. Somehow I think I'm done today. I kind of feel like this old picture of Otto.

 

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Saturday Efforts

I wound up left to my own devices today, for the most part. I went through social media and push feeds while my wife was still here. After she left for a few hours it was time to get with it on my list.

I worked on a short story until I needed to do some minor research. I used my critiques to give my mind a breather. The guys want me to add some more world building to The Yak Guy Project. It isn't a lot, but subtle things seen in passing. I kind of like those things. This isn't our world, and tiny reminders keep the reader curious. There were a few typos and sentences that needed to get reworded. There always are.

My research wound up being pretty quick. There are things you just know, but want to check out anyway. In one instance I knew there was no rule what dugout belonged to the home team in Major League Baseball, but I had to check to be sure. This short story is part of The Enhanced League. Whereas my Experimental Notebooks could have stories set anywhere and at any time, The Enhanced League will be a book of shorts all set during the same season in one environment.

This individual story is going to be a big one. I added 3000 words to a story I'd already started. This is one of the only games in the book, and I have nine innings to cover. I'll skip ahead and cut the long boring parts, but the setting and the first inning help build tension. I haven't written that many words in one day for a long time. It isn't massive, but it felt great.

Other stories will cover trades, deals, careers beginning, or ending. I'm having a great time with it so far.

Otto and I played fetch and a little tug-of-war while I watched a heartbreaking women's soccer match. (Heartbreaking for the USA, if you live elsewhere.)

I didn't get to the reading or publishing part of my list, but there is more weekend left. I got another Lisa Burton Radio sheet today too. Maybe I'll work on it tonight.

The best news of all, the first pumpkin beers are in the stores and I'm about to have one right now.

This is the first gif I've ever used on this blog. I hope it adequately expresses the joy of pumpkin beer. Have a nice evening everyone.

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Setting up the Weekend

We decided to have date night tonight, but keep it simple. We went through a great local drive in and grabbed some food to go. We wanted to take Otto with us, and decided to eat in a park instead of a restaurant.

It was nice out, and all the shade was perfect against the setting sun. We had to watch out for falling acorns, but I really enjoyed it. When I went to look for some water for the puppy, there was a leather purse shoved under a garbage can.

Did someone do a snatch and grab robbery? Is this some kind of drug drop? Is there a head in there? We didn't stick around to find out. We already finished eating, and decided to catch some Olympics on TV.

Tomorrow, my wife is taking the grandkids to shop for new backpacks. This really doesn't sound like a grandpa kind of thing. In fact, they'll probably wind up at Toys R Us sometime along the route.

Someone has to watch Otto. (At least that's my excuse.) This will leave me, the puppy, and my iPad all to our own devices.

I don't know if we'll try to go out tomorrow night. We might be broke after she spends the day with the grandkids. (Teasing…kind of.) My wife has to work early on Sunday. Going out the night before might be kind of a chore.

Sunday it will be me, Otto, and the iPad again. I have to call my parents, and that takes about an hour, but the rest of the day is mine.

My flex day next week is Monday. That means I might have even more writing time.

I think I'm going to shove the second Experimental Notebook through the Amazon machine. It gives me dates, and I can plug in a short pre-sale time, and the date I want it to deliver. Since we're going camping next weekend, it will be nice to scratch this off my list. We never know if there will be a weak wifi signal or none at all.

I started reading a book while we were at the coast, but haven't had a chance to look at it since. I'm going to dedicate some time to that too. I also have a friend's book I need to read, and really want to get to it.

The checklist:

  • Take life as it comes, including another date night and puppy play
  • Work on short stories
  • Read all my Macabre Macaroni stories, edit as needed
  • Publish my second Experimental Notebook (mostly)
  • Work on any Lisa Burton Radio stuff that comes back in the mail
  • Go through my critiques and make changes to The Yak Guy Project
  • Read one book, start another
  • Blog

It seems like a lot, but if I work at it, I can probably get all of it done.

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